You’ve probably heard the phrase: “It’s a free country”. But does freedom in America actually exist? If you believe so, you need a better definition of free.
Mind you, I’m not jumping on the America is Evil bandwagon. That’s just as brainless and possibly more destructive. Nonetheless, the truth is the truth, and “a free country” is not a terribly accurate way to describe the United States.
“More free than others”? Well, maybe, but probably not more free than all others.
So, what exactly does “freedom” mean? If we don’t have a definition for that, then we can make this phrase mean anything we want it to mean, just by avoiding a fixed definition.
What is freedom? C’mon, do you have a definition? Or is it just a word that sounds nice? After all, Hitler said he was bringing freedom too.
What does it mean?
Okay, since this is my rant, I’ll help you out: Freedom is being unopposed in regard to your own life and property. (Presuming, of course, that you don’t intrude upon anyone else.) I can get a little fancier, but I think the definition above is good for almost any use.
Do you agree? And if not, then what is freedom?
I’ll add that my definition is the same one all children instinctively come up with: “Don’t hurt me. It’s mine. Leave me alone.” Presuming you agree, I will continue.
Is there Freedom in America?
Are we left alone in the United States? Well, in many ways we are. After all, no one forces us to take any certain job or to live in any certain place, or to buy any certain products. That’s really, really good.
On the other hand, you are most certainly not free to do lots and lots of things.
What if you want to allow people to smoke in your restaurant in a major US city? If you do, your money will be stolen from you by the government. If you hide your money from them and keep doing it, they’ll send armed men, seize you, and lock you in a cage. Are you free? After all, this is your own property we’re talking about. Why can’t you use it how you wish? You’re not forcing anyone to come inside after all.
So, is this really a free country?
Can your teenage daughter take a small bottle of Advil to school with her if she has some minor pain? And is she free to give one to a friend who has some pain? Not in most government schools. She’ll be violating the (brainless!) zero-tolerance rules, and she’s lucky if she doesn’t get branded as a drug abuser.
Can your little boy kiss the cheek of the cute little girl sitting next to him without being accused of sexual abuse?
Can you take a lost child into your home without fearing that you’ll be accused of disgusting crimes? After all, every male is now considered a sexual deviant, and women are closing in. So, are you really free, even to help a lost child?
The Proper Way of Thinking about Laws
Think about this: Every law is a restriction on human action. We are told that laws are good for us, and that they forbid bad things. But, is this really true? Maybe some of those laws serve mostly to make your local politician look powerful and heroic?
Do we really need a stop sign on every corner? Do we really need armies of observers making sure that no one ever does anything to offend anyone else? Do we really want every phone call, bank transaction and email recorded and stored by some pseudo-cop? Do we really want the government to say who can get contracts, based upon their sex or skin color? Or to tell us who we can or can’t hire? Do we really need 76,000 pages of regulations on our lives, from the Federal Government only? Are all of those policemen really your helpers and friends?
The endless small restrictions are the biggest enemies of freedom. And they now pervade almost every area of life in America. In this regard, the US is much less free than other places.
Freedom in America is neither absolute nor non-existent. It is in-between, and the more laws that are passed, the less free we become.
[Freedom in America: Real or Not? is an excerpt from Paul Rosenberg's book, Mindless Slogans - 101 Cheap Substitutes for Actual Thought]